Readers here may likely remember that I've written half a dozen or so articles about a very talented, up-and-coming triple threat writer-director-actress Jessie Keinweiller who makes off-beat, very quirky, sometimes edgy, charming black comedy short films and webseries. (I suspect that's a decidedly uncommon category.) Her first series of note was Dude, Where's Your Chutzpah, which I wrote about here, and she's built from there.
(I got to know her because her wonderful grandfather, Lou, is a very long-time friend of my dad's.)
I mention all this because she was just nominated for a Webby Award, now in its 20th year, for her webseries, The Skinny, as Best Drama: Long Form or Series, in Online Video or Film. Hey, like I say, we tries not to steers ya wrong. And like her other work, this is...well, off-beat, very quirky, edgy, charming and a very black comedy, at times raunchy, but in many ways incredibly admirable. That's because it's semi-autobiography, and she spares no expense showing her warts and making herself unlikable at times, but very vulnerable and believable.
She plays a character named Jessie, who is trying to start up a career with online videos, while struggling with bulimia and doing her best to get some control on her life. The 12-minute or so episodes are often very funny, but it's just as often dark. And though it is definitely not for everyone, it's a notable series for its openness, with no winks at the audience that hey, everything's okay. But you nonetheless always feel a respectable sense of hope. (Of course, one of the things that helps is that, even though it never says All is Well, the fact that it's semi-autobiographical means you understand that the real person behind it all has moved well-enough on to write-direct and star in this thing...)
For such a low-key production, there are some good credentials behind it all. One of the executive producers is Jill Soloway, the creator of the series Transparent. And the regular cast includes actors Illeana Douglas and Paul Dooley as Jessie's parents.
It will nonetheless be an uphill battle for the show to win in this category. One of the shows that The Skinny is competing against is an NBC production based on Heroes Reborn. And another is an adaptation of Star Trek. But to be among the five is high cotton. If you do want to vote, just go to the Webby site here, register and click. Voting goes for about another 10 days.
Here's the first episode. As I said, it's definitely not for everyone. But hat's off to Jessie not only being able to pull off something this raw, dark, charming and funny, but getting a Webby nomination in the process.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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